Procurement Manual

Chapter 5 – Methods of Procurement

5.1 iBuy+

Procurement has pre-negotiated pricing agreements with many of the suppliers the university uses on a repeat basis. Many of these suppliers are represented on GW’s online procurement platform at the iBuy+ website, for direct use by departments. For processing, most orders will be shipped within a day. However, other orders that require configuration or have longer leads will take more time. Invoices are submitted directly from the supplier to University Payables. 

For further information, visit the iBuy+ website or contact the iBuy+ Hotline at 571-553-4477.

5.2 P-Card Program

The P-Card is a “corporate” credit card that can be used to make small-dollar purchases necessary to conduct university business. The P-Card is administered by Procurement.

The P-Card is a “corporate liability” card meaning that the university pays the bill in full. The P-Card is used by authorized university staff, faculty, and student employees, and by designated affiliate fiscal staff to purchase small-dollar items (up to $3,500) for university use. The authorized cardholder is able to purchase directly on behalf of the university, thereby facilitating tax exempt purchases.

For more information on the P-Card program at the university, please visit the p-card webpage

It is also important to be familiar with the Procurement Card (P-Card) Policy found on the Compliance website.

Finance Directors of each school/department will also be able to explain relevant procedures.

5.3 Emergency Purchases

The Emergency Procurement Policy authorizes the approval and waiver of competitive processes when the items needed are necessary to maintain a safe operational environment, the loss of which would create a situation which would adversely and unduly affect the safety, health or comfort of buildings and their occupants or otherwise cause loss to the university.

The following are the criteria for determining whether to use Emergency Purchase Procedures:

  • An equipment breakdown or act of God threatens to terminate essential services; or
  • Public safety, health or welfare is threatened by a dangerous condition or immediate need for supplies, equipment or services.

The following procedures should be followed for emergency situations. During normal university business hours, the dean/department head shall notify Procurement of the emergency situation and shall provide the buyer with the following:

  1. The nature of the emergency;
  2. The estimated cost of the service/goods required; 
  3. The supplier recommended to receive the order; and
  4. A requisition entered and approved in EAS.

Written justification of the purchase shall be signed by the initiating dean/department head and his/her assistant dean/director. Procurement will then have it approved by the executive vice president and CFO (EVP & CFO) or designee and will process the PO.

If a purchase must be made during other than normal university business hours, the initiating dean/department head shall call the Executive Director of Procurement or designee or the EVP & CFO or designee and request approval to proceed with the emergency purchase. The above-mentioned paperwork shall follow the approval of any such emergency purchase prior to the close of the next business day at the university.

The initiating dean/department head shall take special care in ensuring the emergency service is completed promptly and accurately. Any problems should be reported promptly to the Executive Director of Procurement.

5.4 Informal Bid/Quote Solicitation Procedure

A bid/quote or proposal solicitation is the process of notifying potential qualified offerors/bidders that you have a need for a specific product or service and wish to receive bids/quotes or proposals on… Regardless of the threshold or procurement method, all bid solicitation documents should have enough details to allow potential offeror/bidder to submit an adequate response and to avoid unnecessary change orders and risk of exceeding your budget.

For bids solicitation or quotes request under the micro-purchasing threshold where only one quote is required, request may be made my calling or emailing the offeror. Documentation of the solicitation should include by not limited to the elements below if additional elements are identified and deemed necessary:

Document call details to include:

  • Offeror name
  • Agent spoke to name and contact information to include email address if possible
  • Quantity, hourly rate/unit price and or price agreed to
  • Delivery date…
  • If possible, email the offeror right after the call to document the discussion and use this email in place of quote when submitting requisition in EAS

Email bids solicitation or quotes request should include:

  • Supplier name and representative
  • General description of the goods or services being procured
  • Estimated quantities of goods or services
  • Hourly rate/unit price and total price
  • Delivery date…
  • This email in place of quote when submitting requisition in EAS

Quote (s) from offeror(s) emailed or faxed should:

  • Be on company letterhead if possible
  • Contain company contact information – name, address, point of contact and phone number…
  • Have general description of the goods or services being procured
  • Have estimated quantities of goods or services
  • Have hourly rate/unit price and total price
  • Delivery date and or any other specifications

For bids solicitation or quotes request exceeding the micro-purchasing threshold where competition and written quotes are required but not a formal RFP/Bid response, request may be made by email, snapshot of pricing from potential vendors’ website or official quotes submitted by the vendors on their letterhead. Documentation of the solicitation should include by not limited to the elements below if additional beneficial elements are identified and necessary:

Requirements/Solicitation Document

  • Requirements document or scope of work with enough in scope/detail to allow offerors to identify the general nature of the goods or services to be procured, 
  • How the goods and/or services will be used
  • Eligibility requirements of offerors
  • Offeror's years of experience,
  • Offeror's past performance
  • Facilities, reputation, financial resources, and other factors necessary to fulfill the terms of the contract successfully.
  • Estimated quantities of goods or services
  • Inclusion of the university’s standard terms and conditions . Contact Procurement Department for RFP/RFQ template if needed
  • Performance period or duration of the contract if applicable
  • Deliverables details or terms
  • Delivery terms such as time or days of delivery, unloading and shelving services, distribution of materials, location(s) of delivery, etc.
  • Place of performance or delivery
  • Delivery date 
  • Inspection and acceptance…

Procedural issues to be considered

  • How and who to contact at the school/department for questions and clarification
  • Clarification procedures that the school/department will use to explain the solicitation and respond to questions,
  • The date and time by which the bid or proposal is due (same proposal due date should be granted to all bidders),
  • Allowable methods for offerors to submit a response (i.e., by mail, hand delivery, or electronic mail…)

Pre-bid meeting and conference information, including a notice when attendance is mandatory, if applicable

Required forms and certifications that must be completed and submitted with the bid or proposal (i.e. Bond and permit…)

An explanation of how the school will proceed if a contract cannot be executed with the apparent successful offeror,

Cancellation, withdrawal, and reissuance procedures that the school/department will use when the solicitation is withdrawn for cause or convenience, protest procedures that are available to offerors to resolve disputes … Contact your Procurement team for assistance.

Details of what method and criteria will be used for evaluating responses and may include factors and weighting information – See evaluation criteria table below:

Example of RFP weighted criteria matrix:

Criteria should be weighted carefully to assure that they are properly weighted in accordance with the importance of each criterion and tight to the need objectives.

  Criteria Weight
1 Organization’s qualifications and experience 30%
2 Approach/Philosophy 15%
3 Qualifications of Staff 15%
4 References/Depth of Client Base 20%
5 Pricing 20%
  Total 100%

5.5 Competitive Sealed Bidding - Invitations to Bid

A competitive sealed bid is a method of source selection in which an award is made to the most responsive and responsible bidder whose bid complies with the specifications contained in the solicitation. The competitive sealed bid process includes the following elements:

  • Issuance of a written invitation to bid;
  • Required receipt by the university at the date and time advertised;
  • Evaluation of bids based upon the requirements set forth in the Bid; and
  • Award to the lowest-cost responsive and responsible bidder meeting all of the terms and specifications specified in the solicitation.

Responsibilities

School/Division Procurement
  • Submitting a funded purchase requisition with an attached set of specifications describing the catalog description, design or performance characteristics of the goods or services required.
  • Reviewing the bids received by Procurement to be certain that the offered products or services meet the specifications of the bid.
  • Documenting reasons, based on the specifications, why a bidder should not be considered for an award, if necessary; and
  • Recommending award to the most responsive and responsible bidder meeting the specifications.
  • Preparing bid solicitation documents based on the requisition and specifications submitted by the school/department.
  • Ensuring the process is open, equitable and fair to all potential suppliers.
  • Issuing and posting notification of the sealed bid requirement.
  • Receiving and securing bids prior to bid opening in a secure facility. 
  • Opening bids at the date and time given in the bid.
  • Tabulating and analyzing the bids to determine the apparent lowest responsive and responsible bidder.
Providing copies of the apparent lowest responsive and responsible bid and the results of the analysis to the requisitioning school/ department for review.

A Note on Processing Times

  1. A school/department should take no more than five working days to review a draft bid document or the results of a sealed bid and return its recommendations to Procurement.
  2. Procurement should take no more than five working days to review and notify department of bid results. However, for Federal awards, time must be given to allow for public notice prior to formal award.
  3. All those involved need to be notified of the delay whenever a review is expected to require additional time and analysis.

5.6 Non-Responsive, Non-Responsible and Debarred Suppliers

GW has a policy not to do business with companies that have been debarred from working with the Federal government. For instructions on how to access the list, visit the Department of Labor website at:

http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/preaward/debarlst.htm

It is also important to understand the reasons why a bid might be declared non-responsive or non-responsible.

Determination of Non-Responsiveness Reasons:

  • They substitute their standard terms and conditions for those included in the solicitation document;
  • Qualify their offers in such a manner as to nullify or limit their liability to the university;
  • Offer an all-or-none proposal;
  • Fail to conform with the required delivery schedules as set forth in the solicitation or the permissible alternatives;
  • Qualify their prices in such a manner that the proposal prices cannot be determined;
  • Make the proposal contingent upon the receipt of other awards currently under consideration;
  • Fail to provide the required bonds; or
  • Present any substantive difference between the RFP and the proposal’s terms and conditions, or inconsistencies and errors in quantitative or other reasoning.

Determination of Non-Responsibility Reasons:

  • The bidder is not a regular dealer or supplier of the goods and services offered;
  • The bidder does not have the ability to comply with the required delivery or performance schedule;
  • The bidder does not have a satisfactory record performance as documented prior to the receipt of bids by the requesting school/department, the division or other jurisdictions;
  • The bidder is debarred by the university or the federal government. The bidder may be considered non-responsible if they do not have a satisfactory record of integrity or if they are debarred or suspended by another governmental jurisdiction; and
  • The bidder does not have the necessary facilities, organization, experience, technical skills or financial resources to fulfill the terms of the PO or contract.

Confidentiality: Department staff shall not discuss bids with competing suppliers nor shall they discuss with any supplier the recommended award or the reasons for awarding or not awarding to any bidder. During the solicitation period, all supplier questions should be collected and responded to in writing through an addendum. Following award, debriefing of suppliers is allowed, but discussions should be focused on their bid and why it was unsuccessful, vs. the other bids received.

5.7 Request for Proposals and Competitive Negotiations

Request for Proposals (RFPs) are normally used when the item or service required cannot be easily specified or is of a qualitative nature. RFPs are used to solicit proposals for services or other complex requirements where price is not the sole factor in determining award.

RFP Process Summary

When an RFP will be issued, the first action should be to establish the evaluation committee to verify that the scope information represents the work to be done and to validate that the evaluation criteria is appropriate and represents the accurate weighting for each criterion. 

When Procurement issues the RFP documents, the following is the process that will be followed to ensure the best possible outcomes.

1. A purchase requisition should be prepared by the department and include the following: 

  • The scope of work for the project. This should include the following elements, as a minimum and should be submitted in EAS as a Word document:
    • Background of the requirement;
    • Objectives of the RFP;
    • The expected schedule; and
    • Expected deliverables.
  • The recommended evaluation criteria for the RFP, names and location of the evaluation committee and a list of prospective offerors to be contacted.

2. Procurement will prepare a draft RFP and submit it to the school/department for review. After all changes are made to the draft, it will be released to prospective offerors.

3. Procurement will receive and secure all proposals until the date and time announced for the closing. At that time, the proposals will be opened, recorded and reviewed to be certain the administrative requirements of the RFP have been met.

4. Procurement will forward copies of the proposals and RFP to evaluation committee members and the school/department contact. These will be accompanied by an instruction memorandum, and any other pertinent information.

5. Committee members will independently read and evaluate the proposals prior to the committee's first meeting. The evaluation must be done in accordance with the criteria contained in the RFP. Committee members must treat the information in proposals as confidential during the evaluation process. The ratings for individual criteria as well as the overall rating will be consensus ratings.

6. The Procurement representative shall facilitate and assist the committee. The Procurement representative will arrange interviews and clarifications, if necessary.

7. The committee will submit a recommendation for award to Procurement. A copy of the committee rankings will be kept in the RFP file. The committee's recommendation must contain the following:

  • Name and location of the offerors considered;
  • A ranking of the proposals submitted;
  • The criteria used for evaluation;
  • The consensus and recommendation for award of the committee; and
  • If applicable, recommendations for any provisions or prices which are to be negotiated with the recommended offeror.

8. The committee shall not consider its recommendation as authorization to notify any offeror of the status of the evaluation.

9. The committee chair will provide a written recommendation to the dean/department head supporting its review and recommendation. If management approves the committee’s recommendation, the procurement action will continue through the normal university procurement and contract approval process. If management rejects the committee’s recommendation, and selects a different vendor, then management will notify the committee chair of this action along with the reasons and justifications. Management may reject all of the vendors and ask that the procurement process be re-opened and the committee will be reconvened to review the new bids and quotations.

10. Once management approves the selection, Procurement, in cooperation with the school/department, will conduct negotiations with the highest ranked offeror. If agreement cannot be reached, negotiations may begin with the next highest ranked proposer or subsequent proposers until an agreement is reached or all proposals are rejected. The school/department will be asked to review the draft contract document before the buyer and the contractor execute it.

11. Procurement will notify all offerors of the selection and debrief any offerors requesting a debriefing.

12. If the RFP is for a professional service that does not allow cost to be a factor in evaluating, the committee will provide Procurement with a short list of offerors in the order in which they are ranked. Procurement will seek price proposals and negotiate a contract in coordination with the school/department.

Please read Appendix A – Evaluation Committee Formation and Procedures for details on the process and services provided.

5.8 Responsibilities for Procurements on Sponsored Projects

This section assigns accountability for both federal and non-federal sponsored projects procurements to:

  1. The Sponsored Project Administrator (SPA) from the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR). The SPA is responsible for the review and approval of proposed procurements that includes determining that the proposed procurement is reasonable, allowable, allocable, and appropriate for the purpose of the sponsored projects.
  2. The Director, Sponsored Projects. The Director serves as a general resource to Procurement in interpreting federal regulations related to sponsored projects and to PIs in complying with GW procurement processes. The Director is responsible for educating PIs with respect to the regulations and requirements for procurements on sponsored projects.
  3. Procurement. As indicated above, Procurement is responsible for final approval of procurements and the initiation of purchases. Procurement is not responsible for identification and/or final approval of sub-awards, but simply processes the transactions when provided the required documentation.
  4. The Principal Investigator (PI). The PI is responsible for:
  • Identifying procurement transactions and forwarding requisitions through the department/school administrative staff to the SPA.
  • Coordinating with the department/school administrative staff, SPA and Procurement on federally sponsored projects to conduct procurement transactions that are $3,500 or greater to provide open and free competition to three or more responsible sources.
  • Ensuring that no sponsored research funds are expended or committed prior to appropriate reviews.
  • Providing clear and detailed justifications when requesting a named source.
  • Providing any additional documentation that may be required by the sponsor or internal policies and procedures.

Please see Appendix C for definitions of terms related to federally-funded sponsored research grants.

Sub-Awards

Fully executed sub-awards for all dollar levels should be forwarded to Procurement in the form of a Notice of Grant Award (NOGA) requisition to reserve the funding as a NOGA and not as a PO. In the case of uncertainty as to whether the resulting contractual document is a contract or sub–award, please consult your OVPR SPA or Procurement for guidance. Sub-awards that conduct collaborative research and development under grants and cooperative agreements are not subject to the procurement documentation criteria and procedures. Agreements that contract for commercially available goods and/or services are not sub-awards.